Buying a Samsung TV Online Could Jeopardize Your Data

Slashdot: Your Rights Online - Thu, 03/16/2017 - 14:00
An anonymous reader shares a CNET report: If you buy a product from Samsung's online store, your name, address, order information and other data may be accessible to anyone who cares to look. Matt Metzger, a self-described "application security engineer" who said he has worked in shipping-industry compliance, wrote Wednesday on Medium about an accidental discovery. Metzger said he ordered a TV from the Samsung online store and was sent a URL to track his delivery. When he followed the URL, he discovered that his tracking number was the same one used for someone else's previous delivery and that he could see sensitive information, such as the person's name and items ordered, without any security measures getting in the way. Metzger also discovered that more information was attached in a TIFF file to his own order after the delivery was completed. The file included his full name, address and signature.Samsung told CNET it is aware of the issue and is looking into it.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Research

Event announcement

SCOTUS Blog - Thu, 03/16/2017 - 13:53

On March 30 at 2 p.m., the State & Local Legal Center will host a midterm review of the Supreme Court’s docket. Speakers will include Matt Wessler, Tom Bondy and Lawrence Hurley. More information and registration are available at this link.

The post Event announcement appeared first on SCOTUSblog.

Categories: Research

Relist Watch

SCOTUS Blog - Thu, 03/16/2017 - 09:49

John Elwood reviews the current relists.

It’s going to be another short update this week. Not because we have other pressing engagements, although we do. This installment will be short because there are only three new relists this week, and they raise only two related issues.

All of this week’s new relists involve the Supreme Court’s 2002 opinion in Atkins v. Virginia holding that the execution of intellectually disabled criminals constitutes cruel and unusual punishment prohibited by the Eighth Amendment. In 2014, the court extended that ruling, concluding in Hall v. Florida that a state-law threshold requirement that defendants show an IQ test score of 70 or below before being permitted to submit intellectual-disability evidence to jurors violated the Eighth Amendment by creating an unacceptable risk that persons with intellectual disabilities would be executed.

Many of the court’s capital cases come from “Deep South” states, but this week’s first two capital relists come from the erstwhile “border state” of Tennessee. Payne v. Tennessee, 16-395, and Sims v. Tennessee, 16-445, present with respect to Hall v. Florida the question that seems inevitably to arise whenever the Court adopts a new rule of criminal procedure: whether the rule applies retroactively to cases on collateral review. [Disclosure: Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, is among the counsel to the petitioners in both Payne and Sims.]

That brings us to our final new relist of the week, which is a capital case from a state (Oklahoma) that has a border at the same latitude as Tennessee’s. (Have you ever seen a more awkward segue in your life?) The petitioner in Smith v. Royal, 16-7393, argues that Oklahoma has set a cutoff on intellectual-disability evidence for capital defendants who have ever obtained an IQ score over 75, and that the cutoff fails to consider the impact of obsolete testing norms, which Smith argues tend to artificially inflate IQ scores. Smith contends that the Oklahoma state courts’ refusal to consider the inflationary impact of obsolete testing norms on IQ scores is contrary to or an unreasonable application of Atkins such that it provides a basis for habeas relief under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act.

A grant on either of these issues could make this term a big one for intellectual disability and capital punishment, since the court is already considering in Moore v. Texas, 15-797, whether the use of outdated standards on intellectual disability violates the Eighth Amendment.

With that, we can all go back to never retweeting anything ever again. Until next time!

Thanks to Bryan U. Gividen for compiling the cases in this post.


Returning Relists

Salazar-Limon v. City of Houston
Issue: Whether, when a police officer shoots an unarmed person in the back and the person testifies that he was merely walking away when shot, a court may grant summary judgment to the officer in a suit for excessive force by concluding that it is an “undisputed fact” that the person reached for his waistband just because the officer said he did.

(relisted after the February 17, February 24 and March 3 conferences)


Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission
Issue: Whether applying Colorado’s public accommodations law to compel the petitioner to create expression that violates his sincerely held religious beliefs about marriage violates the free speech or free exercise clauses of the First Amendment.

(relisted after the February 24 and March 3 conferences)


New Relists

Payne v. Tennessee
Issue: Whether the court’s decision in Hall v. Florida must be applied retroactively on collateral review.
Disclosure: Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, is among the counsel to the petitioner in this case.

(Relisted after the March 3 conference)


Sims v. Tennessee
Issue: Whether the court’s decision in Hall v. Florida must be applied retroactively on collateral review.
Disclosure: Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, is among the counsel to the petitioner in this case.

(Relisted after the March 3 conference)


Smith v. Royal
Issue: Whether refusal to consider the inflationary impact of obsolete testing norms on IQ scores is contrary to or an unreasonable application of Atkins v. Virginia when a state employs a cutoff IQ score of 75 on a single test to preclude Atkins relief.

(Relisted after the March 3 conference)

The post Relist Watch appeared first on SCOTUSblog.

Categories: Research

Today in OpenGov: How to connect communities to their data

Sunlight Foundation - Thu, 03/16/2017 - 09:21

In today’s edition, we share our new “Tactical Data Engagement” guide, catch up on the latest Sunshine Week news,  talk about Trump and transparency with C-SPAN, and much more…


The Sunlight Foundation published a new, comprehensive guide for cities to engage their residents to improve their communities with public data.

In “Tactical Data Engagement,” local elected officials, government workers and the public will find practical steps that go beyond just publishing open government data online, including a strategic process, cases studies that reflect real impact, and simple tactics to move from ideas to action.

The resource was developed as part of Sunlight’s ongoing work with dozens of cities across the United States through the What Works Cities initiative, which seeks to improve how data, evidence and technology are applied to improve the business of government and lives of residents.

As Sunlight has advocated for over a decade, public access to government information in the 21st century should be free, open and online — but that’s not enough to meet cities’ goals to improve outcomes for  local communities.

“We shouldn’t just be proactive about data access, but about facilitating use and reuse,” said Stephen Christopher Larrick, Open Cities Director at the Sunlight Foundation. “What we’ve seen is that cities that connect open data to the unique needs of their residents are able to achieve impact and demonstrate its worth”

These gains don’t happen without the investment of time and expertise by city leaders and partnerships within and outside of government.

“As Sunlight celebrates the progress that has been made publishing public information online in recent decades, we’re also mindful of all of the work yet to be done during Sunshine Week,” said Alexander B. Howard, Deputy Director at Sunlight Foundation.

Opening data isn’t enough on its own to deliver the transparency, accountability and tangible improvements to city life that mayors and residents want and need to see from the investment of time and resources. ‘Tactical Data Engagement’ provides useful case studies of cities and proven strategies that we hope every city will adopt and adapt, meeting their communities where they are to solve shared problems, together.”

The guide is still a work in progress and we’d love it if you told us what you think by reaching out to or posting a comment in the public google doc. (Sunlight Foundation)



  • Yesterday, the American Library Association presented Senator Jon Tester of Montana with the James Madison Award for his work promoting open access to government information and transparency. While accepting the award, Senator Tester announced that he is forming a bipartisan transparency caucus in the Senate. (Newseum)


  • Tester reintroduces the Public Online Information ActAll Montanans know we cannot hold folks accountable without sunshine, and in the 21st century we have no excuse not to be as transparent as possible,” Tester said.  “We need more sunshine in our government and this legislation will make it easier for Montanans to keep folks honest.The POIA “will make all public records from the Executive Branch permanently available on the Internet in a searchable database at no cost to constituents.”(Senator Tester)We are thrilled to see it reintroduced. Sunlight has supported POIA since 2010, when Rep. Israel and Sen. Jon Tester, first introduced this important transparency reform. If enacted, the bill would enshrine into law the simple, transformative principle that in the 21st century, public means online.  We hope Congress moves forward with much-needed open government reforms.
Celebrating Sunshine
  • Who uses FOIA and why? FOIA Mapper attempted to answer those questions based on an analysis of 229,000 requests spread across 85 federal agencies. (FOIA Mapper)
  • Sunspots: “Still, there are bright spots around the country: court decisions, laws, bills, and other efforts breathing life into FOI principles. And it’s important to recognize those successes where we get them, because it’s all too easy to feel discouraged by the persistence and scale of FOI challenges. Progress, however fitful, is being made.” (Columbia Journalism Review)
  • A new report endorses police body camera programs. The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers released the report, Policing Body Cameras: Policies and Procedures to Safeguard the Rights of the Accused, after two years of research. The report “endorses the continued and wider use of body cameras as long as they are implemented with NACDL’s policy recommendations,” which are also laid out in the paper. (NACDL)
  • Data analytics are worth the work they entail for local governments. “Cities worldwide are having a data and analytics-driven moment, and it’s one that is likely here to stay. Thanks to advances in computing, code-sharing, and mindsets around accessing government data, it has never been a more affordable, accessible or effective time to start harnessing analytics capabilities to improve local government services.” (Data-Smart City Solutions)
  • One last chance to celebrate Sunshine Week with the Sunlight Foundation. Don’t forget that our event is happening tonight at 5:30 at our office in Washington, DC. Sign up to attend here.
Transparency in Trumpland
  • Danielle Brian, Executive Director of the Project on Government Oversight wrote an open letter to the President. In it, she urged President Trump to make transparency and openness a cornerstone of his administration, noting areas where President Obama fell short of his transparency promises that the Trump administration can tackle. (POGO)
  • Sunlight’s executive director John Wonderlich went on C-SPAN to talk about the state of open government. “C-SPAN asked John for our views on the Trump administration’s approach to date on open government.” He responded with a number of examples from the campaign and first few months of Trump’s presidency.  You can read more and watch the full video here.
  • Former Bush and Obama ethics counsels keep up the good fight. Norm Eisen and Richard Painter, former ethics advisers to Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, respectively, “have teamed up to become two of the most vocal critics of President Donald Trump’s conflicts of interest. They not only sued the president within days of his inauguration, they have also appeared regularly on TV news and testified on Capitol Hill on all manner of legal minutiae.” (Roll Call)


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Categories: Research

Thursday round-up

SCOTUS Blog - Thu, 03/16/2017 - 07:29

At Politico, Seung Min Kim and Burgess Everett report that liberal groups “are urging the senators to ramp up their fight against” Judge Neil Gorsuch in advance of next week’s Senate confirmation hearing. At Roll Call, Kate Ackley reports that “Democratic lawmakers and liberal interest groups are intensifying their pressure on senators to probe Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch’s views on campaign finance law,” in the belief that focusing on campaign finance “would give moderate Democrats, in particular, a reason to oppose him without touching on more politically controversial issues such as abortion or gun rights that would not play well in conservative states.” At Politico, Seung Min Kim reports that “Sen. Dianne Feinstein is demanding more documents from Neil Gorsuch,” “saying he has omitted key information that may shed some light on his work on key national security issues during the George W. Bush administration.”

At The Huffington Post, Jennifer Bendery reports that days “before Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch gets his Senate confirmation hearing, a Democratic group is going up with national television ads calling him out for his record of siding with corporations over everyday Americans.” In Time, Tessa Berenson covers a recent press conference, at which “Senate Democrats highlighted people who it says were overlooked or hurt by” Gorsuch’s past decisions. At Politico, Seung Min Kim reports on Gorsuch’s preparations for the hearing, noting that the judge “is digging through his own voluminous record of legal opinions and undergoing ‘murder boards’ to practice answering pointed questions from 20 probing senators.”

Advice and Consent (podcast) previews the hearing. At the ACS blog, Caroline Frederickson stresses the importance of the hearing, arguing that there “are real concerns raised by the litmus tests that the president promised that his judicial nominee has met” and that “Gorsuch’s record on the bench demonstrates a departure from decades of precedent,” and that because the “hearing is the only opportunity for the public to hear directly from the nominee, himself,” “it is vital that senators ask him tough questions and demand answers.”


  • At the Center for Progressive Reform blog, John Echeverria looks at Murr v. Wisconsin, in which the court will decide what constitutes the “parcel as a whole” for the purpose of regulatory takings analysis, arguing that “if the Court were to rule in favor of petitioners, it would make it vastly more difficult for communities to compel large-scale developers to comply with zoning and other land use laws,” and that “this seemingly minor case” therefore “has the potential to be one of the most important land use cases ever decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.”
  • In The Atlantic, Garrett Epps discusses Buck v. Davis, in which the court, in an opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts, lifted the death sentence of a Texas inmate whose defense expert had testified during sentencing that the defendant was more likely to be violent in the future because he is black, and Peña-Rodriguez v. Colorado, in which the justices held, over a dissent by Justice Samuel Alito, that evidence that a juror relied on racial animus to convict a criminal defendant trumps a Colorado no-impeachment rule, observing that “I can’t for the life of me figure out how Roberts, as the author of Buck, could join Alito’s opinion in Peña-Rodriguez,” because both “cases concern explicit racism in official action; while it is sitting, the jury is just as much a part of the state as is the trial court, and thus should be free of racial bias.”
  • At the Election Law Blog, Rick Hasen notes that North Carolina’s petition for certiorari asking the court to review an appeals court decision striking down the state’s strict voting law is on the agenda for the court’s March 31 private conference.
  • At Empirical SCOTUS, Adam Feldman assesses the significance of the cases on the argument calendars for the last two sessions of the term, observing that although there “are important cases on the Court’s agenda over the next two months,” “none of the cases has received the type of press coverage as cases did in recent years past.”

Remember, we rely exclusively on our readers to send us links for our round-up.  If you have or know of a recent (published in the last two or three days) article, post, or op-ed relating to the Court that you’d like us to consider for inclusion in the round-up, please send it to roundup [at]

The post Thursday round-up appeared first on SCOTUSblog.

Categories: Research

Doing Business 2017 – World Bank

beSpacific - Wed, 03/15/2017 - 23:56

Doing Business 2017 is the 14th in a series of annual reports investigating the regulations that enhance business activity and those that constrain it.Doing Business presents quantitative indicators on business regulation and the protection of property rights that can be compared across 190 economies—from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe—and over time.

  • Doing Business measures aspects of regulation affecting 11 areas of the life of a business. Ten of these areas are included in this year’s ranking on the ease of doing business: starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts, and resolving insolvency.
  • Doing Business also measures features of labor market regulation, which is not included in the ranking.
  • Data in Doing Business 2017 are current as of June 1, 2016. The indicators are used to analyze economic outcomes and identify what reforms of business regulation have worked, where and why.”
Categories: Research

America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again 2018

beSpacific - Wed, 03/15/2017 - 23:42

“Issued by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the Budget of the United States Government is a collection of documents that contains the budget message of the President, information about the President’s budget proposals for a given fiscal year, and other budgetary publications that have been issued throughout the fiscal year. Other related and supporting budget publications are included, which may vary from year to year.”

  • America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again – PDF – Contains information on the President’s priorities, major agency budget highlights, and summary tables.
Categories: Research

24/7 Wall St – 25 Highest Paying Jobs

beSpacific - Wed, 03/15/2017 - 23:35

“Wages of middle- and low-income earners increased in 2016 faster than wages of the highest earners. However, this increase does not come close to closing our nation’s income gap. The nation’s highest paid workers earn several times the wages of the lowest paid worker. The typical U.S. full-time worker earns $832 weekly. Hundreds of thousands of Americans work as dishwashers and counter attendants, earning a median of less than $400 weekly. Meanwhile, the highest paid jobs — frequently scientists, engineers, physicians, and long-tenured executives — typically earn over $1,500 weekly, and in a few cases over $2,000 each week. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the latest job market data from the U.S. Department of Labor to determine America’s 25 highest paying jobs.”

Click here to see the 25 highest paying jobs.

Categories: Research

America May Miss Out On the Next Industrial Revolution

Slashdot: Your Rights Online - Wed, 03/15/2017 - 23:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Robots are inevitably going to automate millions of jobs in the U.S. and around the world, but there's an even more complex scenario on the horizon, said roboticist Matt Rendall. In a talk Tuesday at SXSW, Rendall painted a picture of the future of robotic job displacement that focused less on automation and more on the realistic ways in which the robotics industry will reshape global manufacturing. The takeaway was that America, which has outsourced much of its manufacturing and lacks serious investment in industrial robotics, may miss out on the world's next radical shift in how goods are produced. That's because the robot makers -- as in, the robots that make the robots -- could play a key role in determining how automation expands across the globe. As the CEO of manufacturing robotics company Otto Motors, Rendall focuses on building fleets of warehouse bots that could eventually replace the many fulfillment workers who are hired by companies like Amazon. "The robots are coming," Rendall said. "After the Great Recession, there was a fundamental change in people's interest in automation. People started feeling the pain of high-cost labor and there's an appetite for automation that we haven't seen before." While Rendall described himself as one of the optimists, who believes automation will, in the long-term, improve society and help humans live better lives, he said there are changes afoot in the global manufacturing scene that could leave American industries in the dust. "China is tracking to be the No. 1 user in robots used in industrial manufacturing," he said, adding that the country is driving "an overwhelming amount" of growth. The difference, he added, is how China is responding to automation, which is by embracing it instead of shying away from it. This is in stark contrast to industrial advances of the previous century, like Ford's assembly line, that helped transform American industries into the most powerful on the planet.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Research

Petition of the day

SCOTUS Blog - Wed, 03/15/2017 - 23:22

The petition of the day is:

Hernandez v. Sessions 16-860

Issues: (1) Whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit erred in holding that the causation of bodily injury necessarily establishes that an offense is a “crime of violence” within the meaning of 18 U.S.C. § 16(a), even if the offense does not have as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of any force; and (2) whether the 9th Circuit erred in holding that the California offense of criminal threats, California Penal Code § 422(a) – which requires a threat of bodily injury but not the use, attempted use, or threatened use of any force – is a “crime of violence” within the meaning of 18 U.S.C. § 16(a).

The post Petition of the day appeared first on SCOTUSblog.

Categories: Research

NSA, DOE Say China's Supercomputing Advances Put US At Risk

Slashdot: Your Rights Online - Wed, 03/15/2017 - 21:25
dcblogs quotes a report from Computerworld: Advanced computing experts at the National Security Agency and the Department of Energy are warning that China is "extremely likely" to take leadership in supercomputing as early as 2020, unless the U.S. acts quickly to increase spending. China's supercomputing advances are not only putting national security at risk, but also U.S. leadership in high-tech manufacturing. If China succeeds, it may "undermine profitable parts of the U.S. economy," according to a report titled U.S. Leadership in High Performance Computing by HPC technical experts at the NSA, the DOE, the National Science Foundation and other agencies. The report stems from a workshop held in September that was attended by 60 people, many scientists, 40 of whom work in government, with the balance representing industry and academia. "Meeting participants, especially those from industry, noted that it can be easy for Americans to draw the wrong conclusions about what HPC investments by China mean -- without considering China's motivations," the report states. "These participants stressed that their personal interactions with Chinese researchers and at supercomputing centers showed a mindset where computing is first and foremost a strategic capability for improving the country; for pulling a billion people out of poverty; for supporting companies that are looking to build better products, or bridges, or rail networks; for transitioning away from a role as a low-cost manufacturer for the world; for enabling the economy to move from 'Made in China' to 'Made by China.'"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Research

Presidential Transitions: Issues Involving Outgoing and Incoming Administrations

beSpacific - Wed, 03/15/2017 - 21:21

Presidential Transitions: Issues Involving Outgoing and Incoming Administrations. L. Elaine Halchin, Coordinator, Specialist in American National Government. March 13, 2017. [via FAS]
“The crux of a presidential transition is the transfer of executive power from the incumbent to the President-elect. Yet the transition process encompasses a host of activities, beginning with pre-election planning and continuing through inauguration day. The process ensures that the federal government provides resources to presidential candidates’ transition teams, and, eventually, the President-elect’s team; and includes close coordination between the outgoing and incoming Administrations. The Presidential Transition Act (PTA) of 1963, as amended, established formal mechanisms to facilitate presidential transitions and authorizes the Administrator of General Services to provide facilities and services to eligible presidential candidates and the President-elect. A presidential transition facilitates the establishment of a new Administration and prepares it to govern. Additionally, as noted by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs in a report on S. 1172 (114thCongress, Presidential Transitions Improvements Act of 2015), planning for a presidential transition helps to ensure the nation’s security. The smooth and orderly transfer of power generally is a notable feature of presidential transitions, and a testament to the legitimacy and durability of the electoral and democratic processes. Yet, at the same time, a variety of events, decisions, and activities contribute to what some may characterize as the unfolding drama of presidential transition. Interparty transitions in particular might be contentious. Using the various powers available, a sitting President might use the transition period to attempt to secure his legacy or effect policy changes. Some observers have suggested that, if the incumbent has lost the election, he might try to enact policies in the waning months of his presidency that would “tie his successor’s hands.” On the other hand, a President-elect, once in office, and eager to establish his policy agenda and populate his Administration with his appointees, will be involved in a host of decisions and activities, some of which might modify or overturn the previous Administration’s actions or decisions. The President’s authority to exercise power begins immediately upon being sworn into office and continues until he is no longer the officeholder. By the same token, while congressional oversight of the executive branch is continuous, some activities may take on special significance at the end or beginning of an Administration. The disposition of government records (including presidential records and vice presidential records), protections against“burrowing in” (which involves the conversion of political appointees to career status in the civil service), the granting of pardons, and the issuance of “midnight rules” are four activities associated largely with the outgoing President’s Administration. The incumbent President may also submit a budget to Congress, or he may defer to his successor on this matter. Continuing this transition process, the first actions of a new President generally focus on establishing the priorities and leadership of the Administration. These can include executive orders, appointments to positions that require Senate confirmation as well as those that do not, and efforts to influence the pace and substance of agency rulemaking. Depending upon the particular activity or function, the extent and type of Congress’s involvement in presidential transitions may vary. As an example of direct involvement, the Senate confirms the President’s appointees to certain positions. On the other hand, Congress is not involved in the issuance of executive orders, but it may exercise oversight, or take some other action regarding the Administration’s activities.”

Categories: Research

CRS – Dark Web

beSpacific - Wed, 03/15/2017 - 20:55

CRS report – Dark Web, Kristin Finklea, Specialist in Domestic Security. March 10, 2017. [via FAS]
“The layers of the Internet go far beyond the surface content that many can easily access in their daily searches. The other content is that of the Deep Web, content that has not been indexed by traditional search engines such as Google. The furthest corners of the Deep Web, segments known as the Dark Web, contain content that has been intentionally concealed. The Dark Web may be used for legitimate purposes as well as to conceal criminal or otherwise malicious activities. It is the exploitation of the Dark Web for illegal practices that has garnered the interest of officials and policymakers. Individuals can access the Dark Web by using special software such as Tor (short for The Onion Router). Tor relies upon a network of volunteer computers to route users’ web traffic through a series of other users’ computers such that the traffic cannot be traced to the original user. Some developers have created tools—such as Tor2web—that may allow individuals access to Tor-hosted content without downloading and installing the Tor software, though accessing the Dark Web through these means does not anonymize activity. Once on the Dark Web, users often navigate it through directories such as the “Hidden Wiki,” which organizes sites by category, similar to Wikipedia. Individuals can also search the Dark Web with search engines, which may be broad, searching across the Deep Web, or more specific, searching for contraband like illicit drugs, guns, or counterfeit money. While on the Dark Web, individuals may communicate through means such as secure email, web chats, or personal messaging hosted on Tor.  Though tools such as Tor aim to anonymize content and activity, researchers and security experts are constantly developing means by which certain hidden services or individuals could be identified or “deanonymized.”

Categories: Research

CRS – Judge Neil M. Gorsuch: His Jurisprudence and Potential Impact on the Supreme Court

beSpacific - Wed, 03/15/2017 - 20:51

Via FAS – Judge Neil M. Gorsuch: His Jurisprudence and Potential Impact on the Supreme Court. Andrew Nolan, Coordinator, Acting Section Research Manager; Caitlain Devereaux Lewis, Coordinator, Legislative Attorney; Kate M. Manuel, Coordinator, Acting Section Research Manager; Jared P. Cole, Legislative Attorney; Jennifer K. Elsea, Legislative Attorney; Brandon J. Murrill, Legislative Attorney. March 8, 2017.
“On January 31, 2017, President Donald J. Trump announced the nomination of Judge Neil M. Gorsuch of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit (Tenth Circuit) to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court of the United States created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016. Judge Gorsuch was appointed to the Tenth Circuit by President George W. Bush in 2006. The Tenth Circuit’s territorial jurisdiction covers Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah, Wyoming, and parts of Yellowstone National Park that extend into Idaho and Montana. Immediately prior to his appointment to the bench, the nominee served as the Principal Deputy to the Associate Attorney General, the third-ranking official at the U.S. Department of Justice, assisting the Associate Attorney General with oversight of the Department’s various civil litigation components. Before serving in the Justice Department, the nominee worked in private practice as a civil litigator at the Washington, D.C. firm of Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans & Figel. Judge Gorsuch began his legal career clerking for federal judges. He first served as a law clerk to Judge David B. Sentelle of the D.C. Circuit. Later, he served two Supreme Court Justices, newly retired Justice Byron White and Justice Anthony Kennedy, during the October 1993 term. This report provides an overview of Judge Gorsuch’s jurisprudence and discusses how the Supreme Court might be affected if he were to succeed Justice Scalia. In particular, the report focuses on those areas of law where Justice Scalia can be seen to have influenced the High Court’s approach to particular issues or provided a fifth and deciding vote on the Court, with a view toward how the nominee might approach those same issues. The report begins by discussing the nominee’s views on two cross-cutting issues—the role of the judiciary and statutory interpretation. It then addresses fourteen separate areas of law, arranged in alphabetical order, from “administrative law” to “takings.” The report includes a table that notes the cases where the Supreme Court has reviewed majority opinions written or joined by Judge Gorsuch. Another set of tables in this report analyzes the nominee’s concurrences and dissents and those of his colleagues on the Tenth Circuit.”

Categories: Research

MIT announces prize for responsible civil disobedience

beSpacific - Wed, 03/15/2017 - 20:18

“On July 21, 2016 we announced the creation of a $250K cash prize award for responsible disobedience. This idea came after a realization that there’s a widespread frustration from people trying to figure out how can we effectively harness responsible, ethical disobedience aimed at challenging our norms, rules, or laws to benefit society. And so we begin the process of searching for the first MIT Media Lab Disobedience Award recipient. The award will go to a living person or group engaged in what we believe is extraordinary disobedience for the benefit of society. Specifically, we’d like to call out action that seeks to change society in positive ways and is consistent with a set of key principles. These principles include non-violence, creativity, courage, and taking responsibility for one’s actions. We’re seeking both expected and unexpected nominees. This could include–but isn’t limited to–those engaged in scientific research, civil rights, freedom of speech, human rights, and the freedom to innovate.”

Categories: Research

Physicist declassifies rescued nuclear test films

beSpacific - Wed, 03/15/2017 - 20:10

“The U.S. conducted 210 atmospheric nuclear tests between 1945 and 1962, with multiple cameras capturing each event at around 2,400 frames per second. But in the decades since, around 10,000 of these films sat idle, scattered across the country in high-security vaults. Not only were they gathering dust, the film material itself was slowly decomposing, bringing the data they contained to the brink of being lost forever. For the past five years, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) weapon physicist Greg Spriggs and a crack team of film experts, archivists and software developers have been on a mission to hunt down, scan, reanalyze and declassify these decomposing films. The goals are to preserve the films’ content before it’s lost forever, and provide better data to the post-testing-era scientists who use computer codes to help certify that the aging U.S. nuclear deterrent remains safe, secure and effective. To date, the team has located around 6,500 of the estimated 10,000 films created during atmospheric testing. Around 4,200 films have been scanned, 400 to 500 have been reanalyzed and around 750 have been declassified. An initial set of these declassified films — tests conducted by LLNL — were published today in an LLNL YouTube playlist (link is external). These films are stunning – silent, black and white explosions that resonate in a way that drive home in the starkest terms the ramifications of the use of these weapons.

Categories: Research

Judge in Hawaii blocks revised Trump travel band

beSpacific - Wed, 03/15/2017 - 19:51

Follow-up up to previous postings, Responses to immigrant ban include legal stay and legislation and DHS document undermines Trump case for travel ban – via The Hill – Judge blocks Trump’s revised travel ban – “A federal judge in Hawaii has placed a nationwide block on President Trump’s revised travel order, delivering a major blow to the president’s policy just hours before it was set to go into effect. U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson, a President Obama appointee, ruled after a hearing on Wednesday that the plaintiffs, the state of Hawaii and a Muslim leader, showed a “strong” likelihood to succeed in their lawsuit against the ban. They argue that the policy violates the Establishment Clause and proved that “irreparable harm” is likely if temporary relief is not granted. The temporary restraining order, which will be in place while the judge considers the case, blocks the sections of the travel ban that would have temporarily suspended the refugee resettlement program and barred nationals from six majority-Muslim countries from entering the U.S. for 90 days. The policy was set to go into effect just after midnight…”

  • “The illogic of the Government’s contentions is palpable. The notion that one can demonstrate animus toward any group of people only by targeting all of them at once is fundamentally flawed.” U.S. District Judge Derrick K. Watson, March 15, 2017.
Categories: Research

Court: FBI’s Secret Rules for Spying on Journalists Can Remain Secret

beSpacific - Wed, 03/15/2017 - 19:39

FindLaw – “In 2015, the Freedom of the Press Foundation sued the Department of Justice under the Freedom of Information Act in an attempt to force the DOJ to publish its rules for conducting warrantless spying on journalists in the United States. The DOJ responded that it had supplied all of the documentation the Foundation requested, aside from information that fell under certain FOIA exceptions. This week, a U.S. District judge in California ruled that the unpublished rules on media surveillance could remain unpublished, ending the Foundation’s lawsuit.” A copy of the decision is here.”

Categories: Research

Inside a Phishing Gang That Targets Victims of iPhone Theft

Slashdot: Your Rights Online - Wed, 03/15/2017 - 18:40
tsu doh nimh writes: Brian Krebs has a readable and ironic story about a phishing-as-a-service product that iPhone thieves can use to phish the Apple iCloud credentials from people who have recently had an iPhone lost or stolen. The phishing service -- which charged as much as $120 for successful phishing attempts targeting iPhone 6s users -- was poorly secured, and a security professional that Krebs worked with managed to guess several passwords for users on the service. From there, the story looks at how this phishing service works, how it tracks victims, and ultimately how one of its core resellers phished his own iCloud account and inadvertently gave his exact location as a result. An excerpt from the report via Krebs On Security: "Victims of iPhone theft can use the Find My iPhone feature to remotely locate, lock or erase their iPhone -- just by visiting Apple's site and entering their iCloud username and password. Likewise, an iPhone thief can use those iCloud credentials to remotely unlock the victim's stolen iPhone, wipe the device, and resell it. As a result, iPhone thieves often subcontract the theft of those credentials to third-party iCloud phishing services. This story is about one of those services..."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Research

Court Orders ISP To Hand Identities Behind 5,300 IP Addresses To Copyright Trolls

Slashdot: Your Rights Online - Wed, 03/15/2017 - 18:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TorrentFreak: An initiative, fronted by Danish law firm Njord and backed by known international copyright trolls Guardaley, made headlines when it began targeting the customers of several ISPs, including Telia, Tele2 and Bredbandsbolaget, the provider that was previously ordered to block The Pirate Bay. At the time it was unclear how many people the law firm had in its sights but the situation has become more clear following a recent legal development. Sweden's new Patent and Market Court, that was formed last year to handle specialist copyright complaints, handed down a ruling on Friday. It grants Njord and its partners the right to force ISP Telia to hand over the personal details of subscribers behind thousands of IP addresses, despite the ISP's objections. Telia says that although it places great value on its subscribers' right to privacy, complying with a court order is a legal requirement. In all, subscribers behind 5,300 Telia IP addresses will be affected, with claims that each unlawfully downloaded and shared a range of movie titles including CELL, IT, London Has Fallen, Mechanic: Resurrection, Criminal and September of Shiraz. All have featured in previous Guardaley trolling cases in the United States. It's not known how many of the 5,300 IP addresses Telia will be able to match to subscribers, or whether each IP address will identify a unique subscriber, but it's safe to say that thousands of households will be affected. "There is probable cause of infringement of copyright in the films in that they were unlawfully made available to the public via file sharing networks," the Court wrote in its judgement. "The applicants' interest in having access to the information outweighs any opposing interests, including the interest of the individual [subscribers] to remain anonymous." A Telia press spokesperson told SVT: "We believe that our customers' privacy is incredibly important, but now we must comply with this court decision."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Research